Temecula woman's nonprofit works to feed hundreds of seniors, veterans

"I just want you to know that there's people out there that care. That you're always going to have food."
TEMECULA, Calif. (KABC) -- These days, Teri Sue Parker's garage is something like a home office.

Last March, she like so many others, lost the marketing job she loved and began thinking of ways to help others.

Teri Sue immediately took notice of the initial fear and panic she saw in local grocery stores.

"These little ladies, 80-year-olds were like in tears and fearful because people were knocking them over filling their baskets, thinking of no one but themselves," she recalled.

Her concern and compassion for seniors and individuals in isolation birthed Operation Temecula Food Drive.

"I said why don't I pack boxes, get food and deliver it to their front door," Teri Sue explained.

It's based out of her garage. it's a simple concept that brought an overwhelming sense of relief for seniors, like Darlene Berardino.

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"It's a blessing. It's just a blessing. I can't begin to tell you. It's helped in so many ways. Not having a car now and my husband passed," she said.

Teri Sue began asking for food donations on social media and posted a sign in her front yard. The response was overwhelming.

People near and far began donating to her cause.

"I brought some toilet paper in and some vitamins, soups and things," Sandra Neal said.

Teri Sue thought the donations and deliveries would last only a few weeks. But they kept coming. Now, it's been one year!

Recognizing a growing need and food insecurity in her community, she expanded.

In no time, with the help of her neighbors, Teri Sue was feeding over 150 seniors, veterans, families and even pets.

She stores food in donated refrigerators and freezers and encourages people in need to reach out to their neighbors for assistance.

"I just want you to know that there's people out there that care. That you're always going to have food. I don't think anybody, a senior, should have to worry where their food is coming from," Teri Sue said.

Recognized by California as a COVID hero, Teri Sue's Temecula Food Drive has now become an official nonprofit under the name of Good Samaritan Community Food Pantry Inc.

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